2001 -- The Bush administration said yesterday said U.S. gasoline supplies were
unaffected by the terror attacks in New York and Washington and that any big
price spikes should be reported to the government.
of Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said, "I would encourage consumers
who encounter such unjustified prices to seek other stations and bring it to
our attention via the Department of Energy hotline," he said. The hotline
number is 800-244-3301.
If you call
the hotline Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. EST, you'll
get a live, breathing person to take your information. The DOE wants you to
keep your receipt because their aim is to investigate the gouging claim, fine
the gouger and get a refund for you, the fuel purchaser.
of the Senate Energy Committee, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, called on the Bush
administration to prosecute any service station owner "who tries to use
this national tragedy" to gouge fuel buying customers.
report that there has been no supply disruption to justify such prices,"
said Abraham, although the sources say the U.S. oil market is already marginal
with the impending winter heating oil season. Abraham acknowledged that U.S.
petroleum supplies were somewhat tight, but said the Bush administration would
use the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve is needed. He also said the Environmental
Protection Agency would waive requirements for U.S. oil refiners to produce
cleaner-burning gasoline for the summer driving season that has nearly ended.
According to published reports, Abraham said the EPA will allow refiners to
switch to making winter-blend gasoline immediately, a few days ahead of the
traditional Sept. 15 switchover date.